From Publishers Weekly
In this compelling and engaging volume, Hirschfield urges people of all faiths to accept their differences while seeking commonality and reaching out to one another with love and forgiveness. As an Orthodox rabbi, Hirschfield bases his faith on Jewish tradition, yet he draws on his unusually varied upbringing in a secular home to implement his own strategies and theories for living a fulfilling life, and is not afraid to reference Jesus or Muhammad as great teachers. In his teens, Hirschfield joined a small group of fanatical Jewish settlers defending Hebron, but renounced that way of life after witnessing a scene of inexplicable and unrepentant violence. Now he posits that there is room for more than one religious or moral viewpoint to be correct. Hirschfield integrates this thesis with many personal anecdotes to keep the text alive and interesting. He shares his memories of participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for a synagogue rebuilt near Auschwitz, and he remembers taking part in a meeting of the Islamic Society of North America. At times, the text feels a bit longwinded, but Hirschfield's admirable objective of expanding ourselves to let others in comes across nicely and should attract a wide interfaith audience. (Jan.)
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“In a world that has experienced wars and terrorist attacks on a gigantic scale in the name of religion, a book like this is timely and important. Rabbi Hirschfield advocates dialogue instead of warfare, conflict resolution through debate and discussion, faith without fanaticism.” –Association of Jewish Libraries
“A wise and important story, engagingly told. I hope everyone, from the most piously committed to the most militantly atheist, reads it and absorbs its lessons.”
—Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Brad Hirschfield is one of the freshest and most innovative minds in religious thought today. From the ashes of Ground Zero to the summits of global leaders, he has pioneered a philosophy of using ancient texts to create coalitions of understanding and hope. Anyone committed to religious tolerance today must understand his ideas—and must put them to work.”
—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible
and Where God Was Born
“Spiritual sojourners of all faiths seeking sincerity and authenticity of religion will benefit greatly from Rabbi Hirschfield’s candid testimony of his life’s journey. His visionary first-person narrative reveals that the man who makes the voyage—to the human core of tolerance, respect, generosity, and peace—discovers that the voyage makes the man.”
—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America
“ ‘Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed,’ God says to Abraham in the Bible. Yet, for so much of history, the different religions have often turned the hardest of hearts to those who don’t accept all their teachings. Brad Hirschfield brings a unique understanding—forged in years of theological study and personal interreligious dialogues—of where so many great faiths have gone wrong, and what can be done to guarantee that the blessing God bestowed on Abraham can, after almost four thousand years, finally be achieved.”
—Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy
and A Code of Jewish EthicsFrom the Hardcover edition.